Prospero and his daughter Miranda must take refuge on an enchanted island. There Prospero, who himself has magical powers, releases the spirit Ariel from a spell, and also meets the savage ... See full summary »

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Prospero and his daughter Miranda must take refuge on an enchanted island. There Prospero, who himself has magical powers, releases the spirit Ariel from a spell, and also meets the savage Caliban. Then Prospero uses his powers to create a tempest that shipwrecks some of the persons who caused his exile. Written by Snow Leopard

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November 1908 (UK)  »

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Буря  »

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Version of Forbidden Planet (1956) See more »

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Storied Attractions
26 August 2009 | by See all my reviews

For an early one-reel film, this is rather good. The tableau style isn't as rigid as in some other early literary/theatrical film adaptations, with even a couple instances of continuity editing, although it's still mostly a series of shot-scenes from long-shot framing. The painted sets, backdrops and props are about as good as it got in 1908. Additionally, Shakespeare's play is an apt template to showoff the tricks of early cinema.

The effects, including some good double-exposure photography to make waves appear through a cave, animation for the shipwreck and plenty of substitution splicing, were nothing new, though. If anyone holds the confusion that addiction to special effects is a recent symptom in the movie industry, they should view these early films; that is, these early trick shots had been employed in hundreds of films for a decade before "The Tempest" film and would be used hundreds of times after it. The movie stands at the cusp of the division by film historians of the early period referred to by Tom Gunning as the "cinema of attractions" and the following phase of the development of narrative films. Furthermore, Shakespeare and other sources of established literature and theatre were being adapted to cinema during this period to lend a sense of cultural legitimacy to an art that some of the middle and upper classes still frowned down on.

Also interesting is that the events of "The Tempest" are reordered chronologically here, which is what I suppose they had to do to make the narrative at least somewhat fluid and to fit the story within the standard limitations of the time.


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